From one American racing crown jewel to the next, Lucas Oil Stadium and Indianapolis, Indiana was up next on the Supercross tilt. Now officially on the back nine of this season, everything begins to tighten up points-wise, especially in the 250s with only a handful of rounds left on each coast. But don't tell Hunter Lawrence that, who's already pulled out to nearly a full-round lead. Not quite the case for Eli Tomac, who despite winning at Daytona once again, is only up a handful of points on Cooper Webb. And despite all of his shortcomings, Chase Sexton, who once again paced things in qualifying, is actually not too far out of this Championship hunt, yet anyways. So how did things shake down in Indy, let's find out.
By the time you're reading this, the final season-opening MXGP Class moto in Argentina should already be done but felt like giving some quick thoughts on the two Championship hunts. Without Tim Gajser for the bulk of these opening rounds, I think the premier class is wide open as it's been in a while, even with Jeffrey Herlings back. Even in his last title year, he ended up missing a round due to injury, and as much as it sucks to say he's certainly injury prone to a degree. I think Romain Febvre at 100 percent, finally, has a good shot to win title No. 2. As should Maxime Renaux over with Monster Yamaha. Was a huge fan of his in the MX2 class a couple of seasons ago and thought his rookie 450 season was rock solid.
In the MX2 Championship, I'm interested to see how Jago Geerts responds after gagging away the title to Tom Vialle down the stretch. Vialle was the better rider last year on the whole, but Geerts was far more consistent and limited the mistakes for the most part. Liam Everts on a factory KTM ride should be fun to watch, as should the Coenen Brothers, Lucas, and Sacha, throughout the year. Although worth noting that Sacha recently just had some surgery done on his shoulder and he'll be on the mend for a bit.
Daytime Program/Injury Notes:
- Lucas Oil Stadium leads the Nation in ruts per square foot. Just trust me.
- R.J. Hampshire pull out of the night show after qualifying top 15.
- 250 Fastest Qualifier: No. 96 Hunter Lawrence (46.060) (A full second faster than fourth on back)
- 450 Fastest Qualifier: No. 23 Chase Sexton (45.215) (Also a full second faster than fourth on back)
Heat Racing Roundup
Zombie Blose looked strong in qualifying, and pulled out a surprise holeshot over Jordon Smith, but didn't have the long speed that the Star Yamaha rider did here. Once he got by, this one was a wrap, only Haiden Deegan was in the same area code. This was also the nicest the track was all night. FELD sent out the dirt equipment minutes after this Heat ended.
It didn't take too long in Heat 2 for the heavy hitters to make it to the front of the line, despite a Coty Schock holeshot. Max Anstie, Hunter Lawrence, and Nate Thrasher were nose to tail with Hunter usurping Anstie for the lead at the three-minute mark. Sadly though, there was a red flag for Larry Reyas who went down hard in the opening rhythm section. Getting him onto a backboard and to the back took several minutes, so we're hoping everything turns out good. After the standing restart, Lawrence held strong in first, with Thrasher getting by Anstie for second.
A game of hot potato broke out for the lead in the opening 450 heat, with Cooper Webb kicking things off, but he fell several spots once Ken Roczen got by. Then it was Justin Barica, who looked fantastic in the early goings of Saturday, who powered by Roczen for the lead and eventually the win. Comfortably the best he's looked in quite some time here.
Tomac despite a strong start, had a similar trajectory to Webb in this heat. Chase Sexton blasted by him midway through, then Aaron Plessinger and Jason Anderson not too far after. This is the part of the night where things got very rutty. Tomac was practically crashing in the whoops by the very end.
250 East Class Recap
1st - No. 96 Hunter Lawrence (Honda HRC)
I mean there's not a whole lot to say about Lawrence at this point. He's comfortably situated himself as the top dog in the east and continues to put up dominating performances every single week if you take Dallas out of the equation. Lawrence is also potentially under a week away from being over a full rounds worth of points ahead of Max Anstie with four races left afterward.
2nd - No. 29 Nate Thrasher (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha)
Of any Supercross or Motocross track to run on with a torn ACL, that track last night ranks right at the bottom or very close to it. So kudos to Thrahser for gutting it out for a well-earned second. He's likely out of contention for a Championship at this stage barring something wild, but even with his inconsistent start, he just claimed sole possession of third in the standings as well.
6th - No. 57 Chris Blose (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki)
It wasn't a super strong start for Zombie Blose in this fill-in stint, but he's now put up back-to-back runs of seventh and sixth these last two weeks. His starts all day really jumped out, especially considering his average on the year including last night is upwards of nine. Not bad for a retired guy eh?
7th - No. 238 Haiden Deegan (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha)
Was bound to happen sooner or later, but Deegan's first big mistake popped up with literally five seconds to go on the Main Event clock. The rookie fell victim to the whoop monster near the end of the section, falling from fifth to seventh, which in of itself isn't too bad, but another top five would have looked strong on the resume. On a side note, I see you FELD social media admin, I genuinely respect the free interaction fodder here. Certainly, some rational comments on here and on Facebook (ESPECIALLY Facebook) I'd reckon.
250 East Class Indianapolis Top 10
1st No. 96 Hunter Lawrence
2nd No. 29 Nate Thrasher
3rd No. 58 Jordon Smith
4th No. 6 Jeremy Martin
5th No. 63 Max Anstie
6th No. 57 Chris Blsoe
7th No. 238 Haiden Deegan
8th No. 128 Tom Vialle
9th No. 67 Cullin Park
10th No. 285 Coty Schock
250 East Class Points after Indianapolis
1st No. 96 Hunter Lawrence (125 Points)
2nd No. 63 Max Anstie (103 Points)
3rd No. 29 Nate Thrasher (93 Points)
4th No. 58 Jordon Smith (92 Points)
5th No. 238 Haiden Deegan (90 Points)
6th No. 6 Jeremy Martin (90 Points)
7th No. 57 Chris Blose (70 Points)
8th No. 128 Tom Vialle (68 Points)
9th No. 832 Chance Hymas (60 Points)
10th No. 285 Coty Schock (57 Points)
450 Class Recap
1st - No. 94 Ken Roczen (HEP Motorsports Progressive Ecstar Suzuki)
I mean what a story, what a ride, what a race. Not to get too far off the beaten path here, but some of my earliest core memories of Supercross/Motocross all involve Ricky Carmichael on a Suzuki. I thought they had the best-looking bikes by a mile, and it helped that RC won a ton on the RM in his twilight years. So to get to the point, the fact that a Suzuki won a premier class Main Event despite the alarming lack of advancement in the bike model in recent years is awesome to see speaking personally.
The feel-good headlines continue with Roczen who finds the top step of the podium for the first time in over a year. After how everything went down with Honda HRC, this was a bold move to go back to Suzuki on his part, and even before last night, Roczen had been putting up quality rides all season long. How he held off Barcia down the stretch I simply do not know, but give him all the credit in the world, especially on that track. The crowd reception for Roczen was awesome as well, just great stuff all around.
2nd - No. 51 Justin Barcia (TLD/Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing)
How about Bam Bam? After everything that happened to him at Daytona, he comes out guns blazing and has legitimately been the best 450 rider in Indy this weekend. I was shocked more than anything that he didn't catch Roczen on that last lap. Without even looking at the lap times, Barcia looked and felt faster over those last three laps but couldn't capitalize in the right spots. Even then, this was his best run on the GasGas since Houston 1 '21.
3rd - No. 2 Cooper Webb (Red Bull KTM)
No win for Webb, but there's even better news for the two-time Champion, he now has the red plate going into Detroit. Not exactly a bad night at the office, but he probably left a few more points on the table here. A big mistake in the whoops cost him second place around halfway in, and Webb never recovered from there, although he didn't lose any spots. But hey, get the red plate by any means necessary.
8th - No. 1 Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha)
I'm going to call last night, problematic for Tomac in every sense of the word. This was definitely one of those 'pack it in and play it safe nights' to the extreme. Given how rough the track I can definitely understand not wanting to push it, but to the degree he ultimately did was a bit concerning. Granted, if it wasn't for Dean Wilson wrecking right in front of him and allowing Christian Craig to take seventh late, he's tied for the points lead. On the other hand, it would have probably been better to not be in that spot.
10th - No. 23 Chase Sexton (Honda HRC)
The best news for Sexton last night is that he isn't hurt, but these simple mistakes keep doing him in. He deserves some credit for nursing what was certainly a wounded bike to 10th, while he himself was under 100 percent, but how long can this continue? The points he's simply lost from either mental mistakes or wrecks is easily upwards of two dozen and will likely cost him a Championship at this point. If it's any consolation, Tomac had these issues in the few years leading into his first Championship, so there's reason to believe that Sexton will get over the hump as well. Just a matter of when.
450 Class Indianapolis Top 10
1st No. 94 Ken Roczen
2nd No. 51 Justin Barcia
3rd No. 2 Cooper Webb
4th No. 7 Aaron Plessinger
5th No. 21 Jason Anderson
6th No. 9 Adam Cianciarulo
7th No. 28 Christian Craig
8th No. 1 Eli Tomc
9th No. 46 Justin Hill
10th No. 23 Chase Sexton
450 Class Points after Indianapolis
1st No. 2 Cooper Webb (202 Points) (New Points Leader)
2nd No. 1 Eli Tomac (201 Points)
3rd No. 23 Chase Sexton (189 Points)
4th No. 21 Jason Anderson (166 Points)
5th No. 94 Ken Roczen (164 Points)
6th No. 51 Justin Barcia (155 Points)
7th No. 7 Aaron Plessinger (154 Points)
8th No. 28 Christian Craig (119 Points)
9th No. 15 Dean Wilson (93 Points)
10th No. 9 Adam Cianciarulo (92 Points)
Indianapolis PulpMX Industry Idiots Fantasy Team
450 Class: Ken Roczen (All-Star +5), Adam Cianciarulo (+3), Justin Hill (+4), Kevin Moranz (+12)
250 Class: Hunter Lawrence (All-Star +1), Chris Blose (+1), Jace Owen (+5), Jeremy Hand (+7)
Points Total: 266 Points
Next Up: Ford Field (Detroit, Michigan)
Main Image via HEP Suzuki